Ontayaki Master
2019
Prue Blake
Nestled in the hills of Kyushu island in Japan resides a quaint ancient pottery village where 10 multigenerational families keep the spirit of ancient Ontayaki pottery alive. The Ontayaki masters and their families pride themselves in working just as the founders of the village did over 300 years ago. No electricity is used in the making of the earthenware; the kilns are made by hand and fired by wood, the clay is made by large water generated hammers and the wheels powered by the potter’s feet. Watching the masters at work is hypnotising - they are methodical, hand weighing the clay and making piece after piece identical to one and other. It would be hard to believe that a machine hasn’t made all of these intricate pieces, if only for the fact that we can see it happening right in front of our eyes. 
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